2006 Donati Family Vineyard DFV Claret

Mission Codename: It’s all becoming Claret

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Donati to investigate claims that their 2006 Claret blend is more impressive than any of the winery’s former blends. If true, secure all remaining cases of the wine for our Operatives holiday entertaining.

their best wine yet. If true, secure an ample allocation for the enjoyment of our deserving Operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Donati Family Vineyard

Winemaker: Dan Kleck

Wine Subject: 2006 Claret

Backgrounder: In traditional terms, a Claret wine is a dry red blend made from Bordeaux varietals. Today’s wine, grown in the Paicines hills above Hollister, along the San Andreas fault, is a wonderful Bordeaux varietal blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 7% Syrah, 7% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec. A delicious wine at a delicious price, today’s wine is one that you should not miss.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and foreboding with hues of pure garnet. At its heart, the wine goes slightly opaque. At the rim, a band of bright ruby cuts a fine edge. On swirling, the wine shows its weightiness. As it settles, tall legs flow down to the surface of the wine.

Smell – Lush and dark, with a soft chocolate smokiness that is immediately joined by dark cherrk, blackberry, leather, espresso bean, and raspberry. Just beneath these lies soft spice of cinnamon and subtle clove. A hint of cracked brown leather rounds out the pleasurable nose

Feel – Soft and cool at entry, then more medium-bodied across the mid-palate. Supple tannins lead to a crushed velvet feel that spreads an easy dryness around the mouth.

Taste – Flavor-filled and very delicious, the wine leads with bright cherry, raspberry and blackberry. Then, the smoky chocolate from the nose is prelude to soft oak, brown spice and a hint of black pepper.

Finish – Smoky and dusky, at first, with toasty oak and smoked cherry, spice and the smallest hint of eucalyptus. As these tail off, gradually, hints of blackfruit and black pepper remain for a long time.

Conclusion – This fantastic Claret is a delightful follow-up to the delicious 2005 vintage which we proudly showcased back in 2008. This 2006 vintage is, to our tasting panel, an even better wine. A delightful balance of bright red fruits and dusky black fruits, all tempered against spice and other earthen components, today’s wine is a delicious wine that I encourage you to sample. Enjoy with a wide range of foods, from your favorite antipasti, to a hearty winter roast. We enjoyed our review bottles with a light pasta dish of spaghetti with feta cheese, spinach and mixed Italian olives with lemon and olive oil. The pairing was perfection. Enjoy!!

Mission Report:

WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Ian Hudson


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, Ian. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Claret today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

IAN HUDSON: I’m looking forward to the interrogation.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

IAN: When I was a child growing up in a Swiss Italian family there was always a presence of wine. Jug wine picked up at a local winery outside of Gilroy California was the staple during dinner. Even as young boy I was served small amounts of red wine cut down by water. I guess I had an interest in the science of it all. I was interested in all the steps that it took to get that wine to our home.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

IAN: I started at Donati in 2006 and learned the majority of my style from Dan Kleck. Dan was Donati’s consulted at the time and I followed him around the winery like a lost puppy. As time went on, my skills were refined and I was able to eventually hold my own. I think every good consultant eventually works himself out of a job at some point.

RED: Who do you make wine for? IAN: In the end, I couldn’t drink all the great wine we produce at Donati, so you really have to do your research on what consumers want and enjoy. I think we have found the style and method that is consistently good year end year out. Producing blends like our Claret from year to year is a challenge but when you have control over every aspect of the process it eases that difficulty.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

IAN: Our Claret is the most popular wine we make. The Claret blend consists of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 7% syrah, 7% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec. We age the wine in 25% new French and American oak for 18-24 months. It is bottled unfined unfiltered. All of the wine we make is all grown on our estate vineyard about 27 miles east of Monterey bay in Paicines, California.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

IAN: Any Red meat dish pairs really well with our Claret. Because of that little touch of Syrah in the blend claret is more versatile when served with heavier sauced foods. I love serving the Claret with hearty Italian dishes.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Central Coast so special?

IAN: The central coasts weather makes it possible to grow a wide array of grape varietals. This arsenal of varietals gives us the ability to blend wines that are unlike any in the world.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

IAN: We are playing Mozart to all the barrels of wine from the 2010 harvest. We just received our last load of grapes for the 2010 harvest, a little bit of late harvest Pinot Blanc. The Pinot Blanc is fermenting away in stainless.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

IAN: I would say I approach wine with an open mind. There is too much influence from the media and it really ruins the ability for one to discover their own likes or dislikes. Just because you’ve had a few bad examples of a certain variety does not mean you should stop trying them all together. Get out of your comfort zone, and start experiencing life by introducing yourself to new and obscure wines.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

IAN: Enjoy our Claret from our family to yours. Thank you, Agent.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

Vineyard – The Donatis selected a unique site for their vineyard plantings. They diligently researched and identified clones and blocks that would be capable of developing into Spy-worthy wines in the cellar. With perfect fruit health and absolute ripeness, the wines crafted from the Donati Estate Vineyard are rich in character and nuance.

Numerous Paicines vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

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